Demonstration. Wow, its already here again. After spending years participating in the Brisbane Dojo’s annual demonstrations and having the responsibility and the honour to uke for Mori Sensei, I can honestly say I now look forward to and completely enjoy the experience of ‘demonstration’. That’s not to say I don’t feel nervous!
Demonstration is a time of nervousness, stress, celebration, elation and solidarity all wrapped up in one experience that builds to a climax for the day and subsides again for another year. It is natural to experience these emotions, amongst others, while training towards the demonstration and throughout the day.
The annual demonstration is important for many reasons. Firstly, it is a celebration of a year of training in the dojo, a year where people have spent many hours collectively raising the standard of the dojo and cultivating a sense of fortitude within each other through dedicated training. Secondly, demonstration is a time where you can individually take stock of the progress that you have made over the course of the year. It is important to note the moments in your training that show just how far you have come; sometimes they are obvious improvements, and other times they are subtler (and often present themselves in other aspects of your life outside the dojo – this is the essence of Budo). Additionally, they are an important opportunity to learn to control nervous energy – the greatest challenge is to first control oneself, not others! When one has total and complete control of oneself – clear understanding of one’s capability and acceptance of one’s shortcomings – one can honestly, humbly and graciously harmonize better with others; this then leads to a stronger and more authentic technique in the dojo and more positive interactions with people in your life outside the dojo. Lastly, the annual demonstration is an important opportunity to display the wonderful Japanese art of Aikido to the Australian public and offer them insight into how effective Aikido can be as a form of self-defense and a philosophy to underpin one’s life. Just think, how has your life changed in the time that you have been training?
Well, as I mentioned above, I too will be experiencing nerves in the weeks leading up to the demonstration. I plan to channel these nerves into the energy I’ll expend in my personal preparation for the demonstration and the focus I’ll need to help those in the dojo to reach their best. Please accept the nerves and excitement, embrace the nerves and excitement and welcome the nerves and excitement – the sooner you welcome and acknowledge the things that confront you and challenge you, the sooner you will overcome them and enjoy greater control of yourself. Please enjoy our 2nd annual demonstration. After all, a dojo is really only a reflection of the quality of its students!